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jet519 Jun 1st, 2003 12:11 PM

Best way to spend time in Grand Canyon?
We are going to arrive in Grand Canyon on a Monday early afternoon and will be staying at the Grand Hotel in Tusayan. We plan to leave the GC via the East rim drive by sometime onTues. afternoon in order to drive to Gouldings where we have reservations for Tuesday night. We don't intend to do much if any hiking, although we have talked about hiking a little ways on the Bright Angel Trail to just get a taste of seeing some of the views on foot instead of all by driving. I would appreciate advice on how to best see as much as possible considering the priorities of a good sunset on Mon. evening, sunrise on Tues. morning ( we don't mind getting up early for this). Please give opinions on the West Rim Dr., East Rim drive ; should we try to see both? Also, what are highlights of Grand Canyon Village; will we want to spend any time looking for a few souveniers, looking at the hotels, museums? Frommers says the best sunrise is from Desert View on East rim drive but that is at the eastern end of it so where would a good place for sunrise be since we will be coming from Tusayn Tues. morning?
Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Judyrem Jun 1st, 2003 04:52 PM

Curious too.

bob_brown Jun 1st, 2003 04:59 PM

The West Rim drive is my favorite place for canyon viewing. The road is closed to private vehicles, but there is a shuttle bus that goes to Hermit's Rest.
It stops at every overlook going out and, if I recall correctly, only 2 or 3 coming back.
You can get off at an overlook and walk along the rim, even to the next overlook, and resume your bus trip/

I find that if I walk away from the viewpoint, I can see more because there is no competition for the choice viewing positions.

Somr of viewpoints to the east are also closed. Iwould not go down the trail into the canyon unless you have more than 2 hours. For 40 minutes down, you can figure on 80 minutes or more coming back. I don't think you see all that much on a short walk into the canyon.

BarbaraS Jun 1st, 2003 05:26 PM

We didn't do a lot of hiking either, but I loved the rim trail from Yavapai Point to Mather Point. It was a nice easy paved trail, with some spectacular views. We also watched the sunrise from Yavapai Point, which was beautiful. I loved the drive out the east side of the canyon and would definitely recommend it.

OliveOyl Jun 1st, 2003 06:16 PM

I was listening to NPR's Prairie Home Companion as I drove back from the beach this evening. This graduation program was laugh-out-loud funny with its witty truisms, one of the best I've heard and one I'd love a copy of.

In this program, he'd just graduated from hs, and had a job between hs and college washing dishes in the city, staying with his uncle who had extolled the virtues of a trip to the GC. Well, he lost that dishwashing job one evening after being caught one too many times reading when he should have been washing, and here he was, fresh out of a job, no one expecting him home that night and he began to drive, and drove all night and the next day until he reached the GC. He arrived at the rim and was truly amazed at the beauty as he stood there with the hordes of people, staring over shoulders down into the canyon, then challenged as the teen in him was, he decided to hike. After the first few switchbacks the noise of the people on the rim grew dimmer and dimmer, then switchback after switchback, soon it was just him, his footsteps, quiet, and the rock formations in the canyon rising above him, falling off below him: it was awesome beauty, and so peaceful, so quiet. The occasional hiker would pass him on the way out...a brief international cacophony of French, German, Scandinavian. And he kept on going down, down until he reached the bottom. Once down he was exhausted, not having known in his hs immaturity, how much the hike to the bottom would take out of him, that down was harder on the legs than up would be. Had his parents been there, he said, I'd have said, "I can't get back out",(SO TRUE) but his parents weren't there, so he turned around and began to hike back. The trail was clear in the moonlight and he hiked up and up, back through all the switchbacks, and out. The people standing at the rim on his return, admiring the canyon in the moonlight, parted to let him pass, casting admiring glances in his direction as if he had just conquered something wonderful and great.

WOW...I can relate to so much of this: the quiet after just a few switchbacks, the awesome beauty of the canyon walls rising above and below you, viewed from within, not from the rim where you do NOT get any feeling for the depth or the solitude even in the summer crowd, and the hike out and the admiring glances as you exit the traihead. It was too funny. He wasn't exaggerating that people part to let you pass....and they have virtually no idea how far you've been--may have only been a half hour down, but it was more than they were willing to risk in their "Italian slippers". Admiring glances aren't really important, though it did strike me as funny and Garrison Keillor had seen the same thing, but what is important is the different perspective you get of the canyon once you remove yourself from the madding crowd. You can *never* fully appreciate it from the rim. It doesn't matter if you only hike down a half hour, it will change your experience 100% over standing on the rim with everyone else, looking into the chasm below! I hope you will give it a shot. You don't have to go far to experience it, but without that little bit of extra effort, I truly do not believe you've experienced the GC at all!

Now...if anyone can tell me how to get transcipts of this program, I'd love to have it. It wasn't just the GC story...earlier bits too where he talked about teen stages and parental reactions--that if by age 14 you have failed to make your parents cry you are not a 14 yr old worth your salt, and that any parent of a 17 year old is truly a monster, a monster with fire shooting from the top of his skull. We've all been there--what happens to us!? ;) It was a terrific program, graduation start to Zydeco finish.

utahtea Jun 1st, 2003 08:19 PM

You really don't have a lot of time and I would walk the rim trail towards Hermits Rest as far as you want and then pick up a shuttle bus to take you on to the rest of the view points. Sunset is really great anywhere but people seem to congregate at Sunset Point.

If you drive before sunrise the next morning to Desert View then you will miss out on a lot of other scenic vistas along the way. I would just go to the rim anywhere near Canyon Village and watch the sunrise and then work your way to Desert View.

When you are in Gouldings make sure you go into Monument Valley for the sunset and sunrise the next morning. They are the best!


jet519 Jun 3rd, 2003 06:03 PM

Thanks to all of you, all those suggestions will really help in our planning. We will try to do the West Rim the afternoon we arrive and the east rim the next morning as we leave. Also, we want to try the hike from Yavapai pt. to Mather pt. as suggested. My next question is, how do we get to that trail (parking?) and how far will we have to walk to get to Yavapai pt. from where we park? I am not sure whether we will be able to drive right to that area and see the sunrise, then take the hike or what? We will be driving from our hotel in Tusayan so we need to allow drive time and walk time. Also, I was thinking we might see the sunrise, hike, then go back to hotel to clean up and check out before doing the East Rim dr. as we will be heading from there to MV whenever we finish. Suggestions? As long as I am posting, I also am wondering if we should make a reservation for the night before for dinner at one of the restaurants in GC village early, then walk somewhere or drive somewhere for the sunset. Thank you.

bob_brown Jun 3rd, 2003 06:57 PM

PS. I meant to say that toward the East, some of the lookout points are closed to private cars. They are open to hikers and passengers on the shuttle buses.

I second the idea advanced by Utahtea about walking along the rim. I have done that twice. Take you camera and your binoculars for enhanced viewing.

What I have enjoyed is taking along a geological map and trying to pick out the different formations. I am not sure I was 100% right, but it was fun.

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